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Prayers For Bobby

4.7 out of 5 stars 263 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Sigourney Weaver stars in this emotional true story about a deeply religious suburban housewife and mother who struggles to accept her son’s homosexuality. Mary Griffith (Weaver) is a devout Christian who has raised her children with a conservative religious perspective. When her son, Bobby (Ryan Kelley), reveals that he is gay to his older brother, the entire family dynamic is forever shifted. While Bobby’s father and siblings slowly come to terms with his homosexuality, Mary turns to her steadfast beliefs in an attempt to “cure” her son. Alienated and quickly becoming more detached from the safety of his close-knit family, Bobby’s depression drives him to take drastic – and tragic – actions. PRAYERS FOR BOBBY is the multiple Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominated true story of a mother torn between her loyalties, challenged by her faith, and moved by a tragedy that would change her life, and the lives of others, forever. Based on the book Prayers for Bobby by Leroy Aarons.


In this affecting cable movie about the consequences of intolerance, Sigourney Weaver plays Mary Griffith, a California woman who paid dearly for her beliefs. In the late 1970s, she and her close-knit Christian family, including husband Bob (Henry Czerny), live in comfortable Walnut Creek. Her son Bobby (Ryan Kelley), a high-school student, has a secret he hides well until it becomes too hard to bear, so he tells his older brother. Out of concern for his welfare, Ed (Austin Nichols) tells Mary, who considers homosexuality "an abomination." She believes Bobby can change if he sets his mind to it, so she fixes him up on dates and sends him to a therapist. Wanting to please his mother, he goes along with her plans. When they fail, he drops out of school to live with a sympathetic cousin in Portland, where he works and dates another young man, but years of guilt and shame drive him to seek a permanent solution to his problem. At this point, the story shifts to Mary, who meets Reverend Whitsell (Frasier's Dan Butler). With his help, she learns to reconcile her religious faith with her son's orientation. There are a few missteps in this Lifetime production, as when Bobby contemplates suicide while watching Spartacus, but Queer as Folk director Russell Mulcahy adapts Leroy Aarons's 1996 book with sensitivity, and Weaver makes a potentially off-putting character sympathetic--good luck keeping those tears at bay. Extra features include interviews with the producers, the cast, and the subject. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

Behind-the-Scenes with the Producers; Meet the Stars; Interviews with the Real-Life Mary Griffith, Sigourney Weaver, and other cast members; Road to The GLAAD Awards; Trevor Project PSA starring Daniel Radcliffe; PFLAG PSA Starring Sigourney Weaver

Product Details

  • Actors: Ryan Kelley, Carly Schroeder
  • Directors: Russell Mulcahy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: December 14, 2010
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0042EJDCQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,207 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Prayers For Bobby" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. DeCaires on December 20, 2010
Format: DVD
Several years ago, I had a chance to read the book "Prayers for Bobby" and recently saw the film. It's a powerful story that every parent should watch. Being raised by fundamentalist religious parents, they did not/do not accept homosexuality and they do not accept me. But stories like this remind me that there's hope for everyone to learn and grow. Parents need to hear that being gay is not a choice and that if their son or daughter is gay or lesbian that it's not their fault that their kids are they way they are. I didn't choose to be gay any more than anyone straight chooses to be straight.

Sigourney Weaver gives a powerful performance in this film. She does the story of the Griffiths justice by portraying her in such an honest way. Everyone should learn from what Mary Griffith and Bobby went through. God doesn't make mistakes and Bobby was not one. Would her acceptance have kept him alive? No one knows, but LGBT kids are more likely to commit suicide if they do not have acceptance from their parents. Mary learned this the hard way, maybe by learning from her plight others will not make the mistake she did.

I applaud Mary Griffith for telling her story.

And if anyone is thinking that Bobby's way out is theirs too, think twice because there is so much to live for and it does get better. Day by day, it's getting better with my parents, too. Just like Luke Skywalker, I refuse to give up on my parents because I know there's good there.
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Format: DVD
Well intentioned movies aren't always great movies--I sometimes think there is a tendency to see past the shortcomings of a film if the message is powerful enough. But I'm a firm believer that a film can be both well intentioned and great. "Prayers for Bobby" had the potential to be remarkable. I was familiar with the devastating, yet ultimately hopeful, true life case on which it is based and felt the movie could be incredibly powerful and vitally important. When Sigourney Weaver was cast in the lead--I was all the way in. "Prayers for Bobby," for all the positive and/or negative connotations it might imply however, is a Lifetime network made-for-TV movie. At its worst, it shares the shortcuts that many TV biographies employ. At best, it manages to convey a depth beyond traditional TV fare. While not a perfect film--it has definite moments of heavy-handedness--it is a worthwhile one. And, in a coup for Lifetime, it managed to snag Emmy nominations for best film and best actress.

"Prayers for Bobby" tells the story of Mary Griffith, who late in life became a gay rights activist. Her path, however, was an unfortunate one. Devoutly religious, Mary was confronted with a question of faith when her beloved son Bobby (Ryan Kelley) admitted he was gay. This was in the early eighties, and Mary's religious education convinced her that the church could cure her son. Feeling guilt and remorse for causing his mother pain and dealing with his true nature as if it were a sin--Bobby battled self loathing and depression. Even having moved away and starting a new life, he couldn't escape his inner demons. When tragedy struck, Mary eventually had to face her own feelings of culpability and reevaluate everything she had been taught to believe.
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I originally read the book that this movie is based on almost ten years ago. It was such an emotional journey, and yet inspiring story that forever touched my soul. Below is the review I wrote almost ten years ago on the book (here on amazon) with some changes based on me viewing the movie and since coming out. I am very thankful for this beautiful book and movie which helped me come to terms with my own sexuality. I hope it inspires, changes and even saves lives like it did mine.

This book PRAYERS FOR BOBBY is about a a young adult named Bobby Griffith who was an all american guy, but who also happened to be gay, and his mother who has to come to terms with the suicide of her gay son. In this book you see how Bobby faced with the pressure of his family and his religion telling him it is wrong to be gay. You will also read many bone chilling excerpts of Bobbys most personal thoughts straight out of his journal, which shows how much Bobby had been going through from the fight with his religious beliefs to selling himself on the streets as a SUBSTITUTE FOR LOVE. There seems like no other answer and soon the pressure is to much to take and Bobby decides to take his own life. Bobbys mom Mary Griffith who was fearful of her sons sexuality and who was a churchgoer used to pray her son would be healed from this sickness, but once her son dies she decided to transform her life by being a national crusador for gay and lesbian youth. This book realy touched my heart and soul because when I was 10 I lost my uncle who was 20 to suicide. We were very close my uncle was not gay as far as we knew, but suicide became something I had no choice but to learn at an early age. This book was a life changing book for me as it made me confront many of my own issues I had to face growing up as a teen.
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This movie is for everyone to watch in so many ways and for so many reasons.If you're homophobic.If you're wanting to come out.If you have come out.If you know a gay person.If you're a parent.If you're a fan of Sigourney Weaver.There are soooo many great points this movie brings up and actually answers while entertaining.An incredible true story that every Mother should watch just once.Especially if you have a gay son or daughter.Even if you except them it's a great treasure of a film that is very well done.Sigourney Weaver was nominated for an Emmy Award and as usual was robbed.I had the privilege of telling her how much this movie meant to me as a gay man with a religious Mother and she hugged me and told me to give my Mother a hug for her!She is a true star and this is truly a great film to own.
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